612-644-9781 info@crossfitslipstream.com

Finding the Exercise Program Right for You

One of the main complaints about the fitness industry is the bewildering array of different methods fighting for your attention. How is a person to choose? What makes it worse is that the truth about exercise is that everything works…for 6 weeks. The real questions are (1) what happens in week seven? and (2) will you even stick with it that long?

…our skilled, capable coaching staff dials in the difficulty of every element of every workout so it challenges your current skill and fitness level without exposing you to unnecessary risk.

Any program that will continue to work after 6 weeks does three things: (1) changes the level of difficulty, (2) is enjoyable enough to keep you excited to continue the program, and (3) does not injure or burn you out.  Our program does all three.

By adding or removing plates, we can easily adjust the difficulty of any barbell movement!

We teach an enormous variety of movements, gradually progressing in difficulty as you are able. With tools like the barbell, kettlebell, and gymnastics movements, there is always more challenge available – better technique, more weight, higher speeds, more complexity, new combinations. The variety and continuous challenge keep most people not just interested, but excited to try new things and meet new challenges. And our skilled, capable coaching staff dials in the difficulty of every element of every workout so it challenges your current skill and fitness level without exposing you to unnecessary risk.  On most days.  Some days, you need to dial it back, go easy, and just move your body. You can do that, too, with our coaches’ help.  That helps you avoid burn out, while allowing you to get a good workout, improve your skill level, and set you up for an active, healthy, life.

Related: CrossFit “As Rx” vs. Personal Progress

To learn more about the specifics of our approach to group training, read our posts here, here, and here.  Better yet, contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com for a free, no-sweat, no-obligation introduction to meet us and discuss how we can help you reach your goals!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

How to: Barbell Deadlift for Beginners

One of the main benefits of having a coach is to shorten the learning process for movements that require experience and skill to perform optimally, let alone safely.  However, internet videos do a good job of getting you started, so there’s no need to wait another day!

One of the main benefits of having a coach is to shorten the learning process for movements that require experience and skill to perform optimally, let alone safely. 

Be sure to start light and keep the repetitions relatively high (8-12), so you get plenty of practice with the movement.  When 12 reps at a particular weight aren’t challenging, add more weight and reduce the repetitions to 8.  As with any new movement, you should expect some soreness, but if it interferes with your other workouts or life in general, it’s too much.  Reduce the weight and/or total repetitions during your next session.

Related: How To Grip the Bar for Pull-ups

Deadlifts are powerful medicine, so don’t do more than 3 sets at your heaviest weight after doing 3-4 lighter warm-up sets.

Send your questions to info@crossfitslipstream.com!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

Member Highlight- Meet Amanda

 

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
I was in a rut and really bored with my fitness routine….to the point where I was barely exercising at all….. I needed something new and I needed a challenge to get engaged again.
How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
It’s really hard for me to feel if I am using good form and the coaches are so good at correcting and guiding me in that aspect.
How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life? 
I feel so much stronger and healthier. It helps me make better choices outside of the gym as well when I know I’ll be deadlifting or doing wall balls tomorrow.
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?  
I don’t really have a favorite,  but I’m really happy that I don’t have any movements that scare me or make me uncomfortable anymore. I noticed this happened right around the 1-year mark.  I definitely have a lot of room for improvement but I used to be tempted to skip class if I wasn’t comfortable with some part of the workout. Now I feel eager instead of timid.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?  
Go for it! It has changed my life for the better in a multitude of ways.

It’s Time for a Change. But How?

The recent book Switch: How To Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip & Dan Heath, lays out a helpful three-part framework for making change using the metaphor of an elephant and rider.  The elephant and rider metaphor is an update version of Plato’s observed millennia ago, using a charioteer and unruly horse.  Since we don’t have many of either in Minnesota, I’ll stay with elephant & rider here, and focus on changes relevant to health and fitness, though the framework is effective anywhere.

To make a change, you must:

  1. Direct the rider

  2. Motivate the elephant, and

  3. Shape the path

 The rider represents the conscious, thinking mind.  The part of you that judges your current health, fitness, or activity level to be undesirable.  The elephant represents your unconscious, emotional mind.  The part of you that is unhappy, or cannot identify with the image you see in the mirror.  The path is the situation you are in and represents the opportunity to reach a destination.

Related: Why Do I Keep Needing to Start at Square One?

If you want to change, then you have probably looked down your current path and decided that you do not wish to reach that destination.  This is the first step towards change.  That decision can be thinking (I don’t want to be unhealthy, limited, and struggling) or feeling (that person I see in the mirror is not the real me, or I feel embarrassed by my performance, or my looks right now).

Related: The Slipstream Difference: “Fitness” and Your Goals

Our approach at Slipstream is to help you get in touch with these thoughts and feelings, and help you define a path from where you are to where you want to be.

We are here to help.  Contact me at john@crossfitslipstream.com for a free, no-sweat discussion of where you are, and how we can help you.

—John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

Why Do I Keep Needing to Start at Square One?

Your membership at this new high-intensity gym started great!  Everyone is really friendly and you moved from walking to running after just a few workouts.  It’s hard, but the nice coach is so cheerful, and the computer tells you that you just need to keep this going for one more minute and you’ll be at the magic 12:00 mark.  Okay, your left knee is feeling a little off, you’re not sleeping well, and your friends complain you’re really crabby lately.  Well, the coach said to just use the rower until the knee feels better.  Won’t hit your goals unless you keep hitting the gym to keep that fat burn going, right?

Actually, no.

You won’t hit your goals if you don’t address the cause of the knee issue.  You won’t hit your goals unless you learn to enjoy nutritious, natural food.  You won’t hit your goals if you keep on the road to overtraining, which is paved with high-intensity.

It should also be axiomatic that recovery is mandatory. 

Try as the fitness industry might to simplify things, there is no avoiding the fact that any physical goal – fat loss, a fast 5k run, whatever – cannot be achieved solely in the gym.  Any fitness plan starts with nutrition.  You cannot out-train a bad diet.  That’s axiomatic in the fitness industry.  It should also be axiomatic that recovery is mandatory.  If you do not allow yourself the rest required to handle the total stress in your life – not just your workouts, but life, work, family, traffic, and everything else – your body will give you the rest you need by breaking.  And that will keep you from reaching your goals as surely as never setting them in the first place.

Related:

The key is to improve your self-awareness: the ability to monitor and interpret the signals your body is sending you.  This is increasingly difficult in our society, which is dominated by mental activity, rather than physical.  Our minds essentially lose track of our physical selves, which is how you got to where you needed a fitness goal.  Your first goal should be to restore that connection and awareness.  When you notice how you feel after that sugary drink or processed food, it will be easier to avoid them and make healthier choices.  Goodbye forced “dieting,” hello natural, healthy “eating!”

Related: The Slipstream Difference: Coaching, Not Crushing

It is impossible to do this in a gym that puts a tracking device on you and says “hit this for that long”.  If you are on a day when that added stress is too much, it will break you.  Maybe not until after you reach your goal, and you’re satisfied with their product, but it is not sustainable for the long term.  Which is why the fitness industry runs in fads.  You get results, but then need a break, so you take it.  You didn’t establish new, healthier habits – because it was all temporary – and revert to old habits.  The same ones that got you where you didn’t want to be.  So you set a new goal, find a new gym offering the new fad, and get back to work.

It’s the fitness industry version of the finance industry’s IBGYBG (“I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone” when our bad decisions blow up, so why worry or blow the whistle?).  Well, you won’t be gone from your life when this bill comes due.  So get off the fad treadmill and start a program that offers a sustainable approach you can follow for a lifetime.  It starts with coaches who understand these truths, follow intelligent progressions, and know when to encourage you to back off.  That’s Slipstream.

To learn more about how we customize group programming for the individual, how we conduct personal training, or which is right for you, contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com for a free, no-sweat discussion today!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

The Slipstream Difference: Listening

Having embraced high-intensity work as the most efficient way to “burn fat,” the fitness industry, as the name implies, seeks maximum profit by providing it on an industrial scale.  The trouble with this is simple: you are not an industrial product. Your goals may well include burning fat, but are undoubtedly more nuanced than that. You are a flesh and blood, complex human with multiple motivations, desires, and goals.  Your workout needs to be based on you, your actual goals, and how you feel on any given day.  Industrial programs are simply not able to listen to you, let alone your body, and adjust in real time to those facts.

Related: The Slipstream Difference: “Functional” Training

The industrial solution is technology and fixed expectations.  But humans cannot be slaves to a heart rate monitor or other technology that tells you that you are doing a bad job today because (as a totally nonrandom example) you didn’t spend 12:00 above 84% of your maximum heart rate.  Such technology reinforces the competitive aspect of fitness – even if “you only compete with yourself” – and encourages you to ignore how you actually feel and push until you crash.  That crash may be injury (which is a body part giving out) or “overtraining” – lethargy, irritability, loss of appetite, lost enthusiasm, and more.  In either case, the result is less fitness, fat burn, and goal achievement, not more.

Stages of Overtraining – Recognize anything? Source: philmaffetone.com/

Even if you have a widely-shared goal like fat loss, at Slipstream we listen to you and keep your particular motivation(s) in mind every time you come in the gym.  We tailor our coaching to your goals and capabilities, including how we recommend you pace the workout.  If you have more specific goals or needs, our personal training programs offer the ultimate in customization – you aren’t even bound by the drafted workout if it is not appropriate for you that day.

Related: Why Personal Training? To Achieve a Specific Goal

To learn more about how we customize group programming for the individual, how we conduct personal training, or which is right for you, contact us at info@crossfitslipstream.com for a free, no-sweat discussion today!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

Member Highlight – Meet Carissa

Why did you decide to try CrossFit?
John’s presentation for the MN Rovers caught my interest. When the New You Challenge program was available I decided to try it.. 
How is having a CrossFit coach changed your workout or fitness results?
Pre-planning and guidance from the coaches allows me to simply show up and workout. There’s no need to worry about the details. 
How has doing CrossFit affected your health and/or life? 
Doing Crossfit has increased my overall well-being.  I’ve learned new, challenging workouts and I’ve met others who are committed to living a healthy lifestyle.
What is your favorite CrossFit movement?  
Mobility: Around the World Strength: Pull Up
What would you say to someone who is thinking about trying CrossFit?  
I’d say they should try it, take it WOD by WOD, and they’ll get there faster in the Slipstream. 

The Slipstream Difference: Coaching, Not Crushing

In 2001, a little website started posting the “CrossFit®” high intensity “workout of the day” along with its founder’s essays recommending a diet low in carbohydrates and high in quality.  Starting in 2005, P90X® and Insanity® flooded late-night television, popularizing high intensity exercise, and a diet low in carbohydrates and higher in protein and fat.  With that publicity, the little website got a lot more traffic and more media coverage, including the article that informed yours truly of its existence.  This formula works for most people who can stick with it, so it has been the template for the fitness industry since.

Our coaches are trained first in proper movement, to see deviations in movement, and to issue corrections and monitor the results. 

The diet part I will leave for another post.  The high intensity exercise piece has caused a great deal of unnecessary suffering.  It is certainly true that you get the most change for your effort from high intensity work.  It is also true that high intensity work is extremely demanding.  As one of my mentors said: “CrossFit is great, but if you don’t respect it, it will eat you alive.”  I agree, but add that you need to respect yourself enough to allow yourself to recover from your high intensity workouts, CrossFit or not.

Related: Move Well, then Move Often

Any “coach” can create a high intensity workout and yell and scream to “motivate” you into a sweaty mess.  It takes a trained, caring coach to (1) know proper movement and why it is important, (2) have the “eye” to see movement errors, and (3) the skill to help you find your way to proper movement while still being able to (4) create a workout that is the right type of intensity for you and within your abilities on any given day.  Most “coaches” do not have this skill set, which is why indoor cycling is popular, and other “high intensity” workouts tend to draw from a small number of movements.  Those approaches reduce the skills needed by the coach.   Performing well is not an option, so feeling “destroyed” or “wrecked” become the badges of honor, rather than the signs that the workout was beyond your capabilities they actually are.  You are being eaten alive.

Our coaches are trained first in proper movement, to see deviations in movement, and to issue corrections and monitor the results.  We are here to help you learn to move well, and to give you workouts that challenge you, without leaving you too sore to move for days on end.  The challenge at first will be learning movements and improving mobility so you can move safely, and less about being a sweaty mess.  That will come as your new skills allow you to start moving faster with greater resistance.

Related: The Slipstream Difference: “Functional” Training

We will help you know which is right for you on which days.  Crushing someone is easy.  Coaching is hard.  And Coaching is the Slipstream Difference.

Contact me at john@crossfitslipstream.com or 612-644-9781 to schedule a free, no-sweat introduction, so we can discuss your goals and determine the best path forward for you.

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

How to Grip the Bar for Pull-ups

We’ve all been there: We walk up to the whiteboard, read what we’re doing that day and in that process read, “pull-ups.” We follow it up with a groan or ask “how many”?! We may be defeated either by the movement itself or the number of repetitions required. This may have even been you back in May when we did “Murph.”

Related: Results: “Automagically”

The pull-up after-all is a great test of upper-body strength as it requires not only a lot of strength to pull your chin over the bar, but a lot of strength just to hang on to the bar in the first place. We could focus on how our basic anatomy or strength-to-weight ratio is holding us back, or even talk about improving our strength. While all those things are involved, it starts with being able to hold on to the bar.

To produce a stronger pull or a more optimal kip, keep your knuckles above the bar.

To produce a stronger pull or a more optimal kip, keep your knuckles above the bar. In other words, point your knuckles to the ceiling. If you can’t see them while you’re hanging, you’re doing it right. If you can  see your knuckles, then you need to get more of the “meaty” part of your palm over the bar.

 

                         

           Knuckles up = “STRONG”                 Knuckles back = “WEAK”

Gripping the bar this way, with your knuckles towards the ceiling, has a couple of advantages that improve control and strength during the pull-up:

  1. It engages your entire hand, wrists, and forearms.

  2. It helps to keep your shoulders active.

Take action! The next time you’re in the gym, try this: simply hang from a pull-up bar with your knuckles towards the ceiling (strong grip) and compare this feeling to having your knuckles facing the wall behind you (weak grip). You may even realize you can get your first pull-up using this new grip or get a Personal Record number of repetitions!

Related: Why We Do “Metcons”

If you want to learn more, be sure to schedule a personal training session with a coach at CrossFit Slipstream today at info@crossfitslipstream.com!

–Bryan Rosen

Coach

1 2 3 19